Author Archives: Christopher
As the Sweet 16 boils down to the Elite Eight, I’d like to turn your attention to a man who turned his knack for striking while the iron’s hot into a decade-plus-long NBA career. It was during the tournament in 1999, when Wally Szczerbiak stormed onto the national scene. His Miami, Ohio RedHawks were the 10 seed, facing the heavily-favored, seventh seeded Washington Huskies.
In a 59-58 win over Washington, Szczerbiak scored a remarkable 43 points. He took 33 shots from the field–the rest of the Red Hawks attempted just 22 shots. He collected 12 boards and shot 5-12 from three-point land. The team advanced to the second round, where they took on the 2-seeded Utah Utes.
It was a showdown featuring Szczerbiak versus Utah’s future NBA sharpshooter Andre Miller. Miller did his best, scoring 20 points and grabbing six rebounds, but it was Miami of Ohio, behind Szczerbiak’s 24-point, 8-rebound effort, continuing their Cinderella run to the Sweet 16. Miami finally lost to Kentucky, but Wally Szczerbiak became a household name (once households learned how to pronounce it).
Wally went sixth overall to the Timberwolves in that year’s draft. His tourney foe Andre Miller went eighth. After an impressive rookie season, two more solid years followed for Szczerbiak, including his 2002 campaign–his best as a pro. He made his lone All-Star game appearance in 2002 for the T-Wolves. And that off-season, seeing what they had in Szczerbiak, Minnesota decided they NEEDED to keep Wally in the Twin Cities, so they gave him a 6-year, $63 million extension, the structure of which was heavily back-loaded.
Six years and several teams later, Szczerbiak was one of the richest bench players in the NBA and an annual member of the NBA’s All-Expiring-Contract team, the players of which are constantly on tour throughout the land, and whom are traded mid-season almost every year (See: Raef LaFrentz). He was somewhat famously involved in the trade that sent Ray Allen to the Celtics, as he moved to Seattle before their final season as the SuperSonics in 2007-08.
He now works in broadcasting, as a member of the MSG network post-game crew for Knicks games. In total, Szczerbiak played parts of twelve seasons in the NBA, and was a pretty good player (14.1 PPG). But he always carried the “ridiculously overpaid” moniker. I say he was simply one of the most opportunistic players the game has ever seen. It’s good work, as they say, if ya can get it.
Originally posted at http://www.obscureathletes.com
Matt Schaub always looks like the guy who drank too much at your party, and is just waking up at 11:30 in the morning after having passed out on your couch. So of course the Raiders had to bring him in. The Texans shipped the one-time fantasy football star turned Houston washout to the Bay Area for a sixth-round pick in May’s draft. By my count, the Raiders have started fourteen different quarterbacks since Rich Gannon won the NFL MVP by throwing checkdown after checkdown to Tyrone Wheatley and Charlie Garner. That year, the Raiders won the AFC. Schaub is no Rich Gannon, but hey–he can’t be worse than Matt Flynn.
Curtis Painter, the man most remembered as a week 17 hero, and subsequent winless starter in Indianapolis, re-upped with the Giants last week. Painter has spent his entire career in the league backing up one Manning or another, and will once again sport a clipboard for Eli in 2014. Last year, Painter completed 8 out of 16 throws, for 57 yards. He threw no touchdowns and was intercepted twice. The 28-year old has a career passer rating of 57.6, and has thrice as many career turnovers (18) as touchdown passes thrown (6). Hey, who wouldn’t want to bring this guy back?
Don’t look now, but Joe Webb is BACK! The Quarterback/wide receiver signed with the Panthers over the weekend. Webb has said he has no interest in playing quarterback ever again, and I’m sure Cam Newton is happy to be free from the pressure Webb would no doubt put on him. Webb caught five passes last season, and his production should be more than enough to make up for the losses of Steve Smith, Brandon LaFell and Ted Ginn.
It’s a big episode today on the podcast, as we talk about Charlie “Clipboard Jesus” Whitehurst, Brandon Weeden’s move to Dallas, and the Men’s NIT Basketball Tourney.
All this week on Obscure Athletes PODCAST EPISODE 5 . Brought to you by the number 5. And watermelons.